ATLANTA (FinalCall.com) – Nearly 30 years ago, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan was a frequent and highly sought after speaker on college campuses all across the country.
Then something happened.
The invitations stopped coming.
An unofficial ban was put on Minister Farrakhan speaking on college campuses to large groups of students. What remained was the infrequent request for a smaller group or a private meeting.
That’s what took place at Clark Atlanta University on Monday, Oct. 15. Student leaders from the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (NCOBRA) invited Minister Farrakhan to speak to them while he was in Atlanta during the commemoration of the 12th Anniversary of the Historic Million Man March.
“It’s been 28 years since I was banned from HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). I was banned because I could make a difference. Many of our schools are still plantations,” he said with pain in his voice.
Minister Farrakhan was received with a thunderous round of applause by a standing room only audience of more than 100 students and faculty from not only Clark Atlanta University, but Spelman and Morehouse, too.
He told the students about the time he was speaking in Baltimore, and NBA player Carmello Anthony came to visit him after the speech. Minister Farrakhan explained that Mr. Anthony was advised by the NBA Commissioner David Stern not to go and listen to the Minister’s speech.
“Never do that again,” Minister Farrakhan said. “Mr. Stern has no authority to tell you who you should listen to. Mr. Stern would never allow anyone to tell his children who they could listen to. We are rich, but still enslaved.”
“A rich piece of meat that they must keep in a perpetual state of bondage. What is it about Minister Farrakhan that is feared? Why am I feared? Because you are still on a plantation and you have a wicked slave-master.”
Minister Farrakhan added, “They don’t want me here. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. We must have the knowledge of self; God; the time; and what must be done. The slave-master’s children are dropping our people.”
For many of the students it was their first time hearing Minister Farrakhan, who spoke to them like they were his own children. With the love and care of a parent, he guided them to a better understanding of their purpose for obtaining higher education.
“Knowledge is not given to seek a job to make money. It is to cultivate the rich treasures within. It frees the possessor. It gives them the power to move the impediments in their path,” said Minister Farrakhan.
“That’s not the knowledge offered by former slave-masters’ children to the children of former slaves. You come out with a degree in Black Studies and what are you going to do? That’s non-threatening to White supremacy.”
He explained that math is a fundamental discipline which allows people to become builders of society and allows people to create jobs for self and kind.
He then spoke on the issue of students pursuing education in engineering.
“Look how many start; look how many finish. There is a plan of destruction for the Black male. You are very valuable to the future of our people,” Minister Farrakhan said. “This [the audience of students] is rich. This is potentially powerful, but it’s controlled. In order to make a real difference you have to inspire students to build for themselves instead of asking the slave-master’s children for a job.”
“A word turned Bro. Malcolm around. Reading is the way out if you know how to read. This is not a country of the people, by the people and for the people; it’s [a country] of the rich, by the rich, for the rich and to hell with the poor–make them your slaves,” which the students responded with a thunderous applause.
Minister Farrakhan then asked the students, “How will you use your knowledge to advance the cause of freedom? Will you do it? All of us are in the valley of decision. Prepare your children not to be beggars of jobs.”
During a question and answer period, he learned that the engineering program at Clark Atlanta is being phased out and the class of 2008 will be its last.
“All forms of engineering are absolutely necessary if a people are to be free. To close engineering at a Black college is just what I’m talking about,” he said shaking his head. “They want you to be in disciplines that don’t challenge White supremacy.”
He challenged all HBCU’s to stop letting their White, corporate sponsors dictate what is to be taught to the thousands of Black students who spend their time and money at these universities, looking for true education.
Morehouse College student James McCoy said, “I am so happy that the Honorable Louis Farrakhan spoke to us today about the role of the Black collegiate. The problem of every HBCU allowing other forces to stop teachers from really teaching their students what they should know is very disheartening and should be addressed in a much wider forum.”
Dr. Carlton Brown, Vice President of Clark Atlanta introduced Minister Farrakhan as a man who has stood for every Black leader that has gotten into trouble. “He has come to their aid and rescue,” Dr. Brown said.
For Tuskegee University freshman Daiyaana Muhammad, the speech was inspirational.
“He spoke about the different majors and the limited opportunities that Black students have in finding jobs. I was so excited. It was a great message. I wanted to change my major and do something to threaten White supremacy.”
Laila Al Hakim contributed to this article.